Nut cake was a tradition

Recipe Finder

March 27, 2002|By Ellen Hawks | Ellen Hawks,SUN STAFF

Ernest Adams of Columbia writes that for years he has been seeking a recipe for Black-Walnut Cake like the one his grandmother made. "I am retired, and my daughter Suzanne said she would make it for me."

Carlyn O'Neill of Finksburg responded. "This recipe has been passed down from my grandmother, to my mother, to me," O'Neill wrote. "It is one of the family Christmas traditions. I hope you find it as enjoyable as we do. If baking in an electric oven, check for doneness after 45 minutes. I don't know why, but it bakes faster in my oven than in my mother's, which is gas."

Black-Walnut Cake

Serves 12 to 16

2 cups white sugar

1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, softened

4 eggs, separated

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

pinch salt

1 cup milk

1 to 1 1/2 cups chopped black walnuts (not too small)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease and flour well a large tube pan. This cake rises very high.

In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter until you cannot feel granules of sugar when rubbed between fingers and mix is of a very pale color (about 4 minutes). Add egg yolks and vanilla and mix well.

In a smaller bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture and milk alternately to sugar/yolk mixture. Stir each addition until just blended. Don't over-mix or the cake will become tough. Beat egg whites until very foamy but not at all stiff. Gently fold into batter, lifting mixture to allow air into batter.

Mix in the black walnuts just until they are fully incorporated but don't flatten batter.

Bake for 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool completely on rack before storing. The cake tastes better the next day after walnuts have fully released their flavor.

Tester Laura Reiley's comments: "This is a dense, nutty poundcakelike concoction, redolent of black walnuts. Black walnuts have a just slightly bitter taste, so if you (or your kids) don't appreciate that, regular walnuts or pecans could be substituted. Make sure you use whole milk rather than nonfat. Wrapped very well in plastic wrap and stored in a cool, dark place, this cake keeps well for up to five days."

Recipe requests

Glenda Cline of Keystone, S.D., wants a recipe for Pineapple Squares. "It was on a Fleischmann's Yeast package around the mid '50s. It was a light and flaky pastry top and bottom with a crushed pineapple filling. My mom has made this a lot, but tossed the recipe and cannot remember where it is or how it was made. I would appreciate if anyone has this recipe."

Angela Hall of Reisterstown writes that she is looking for a recipe for Shrimp Lasagna, which she saw in a magazine she misplaced.

If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request for a hard-to-find recipe, write to Ellen Hawks, Recipe Finder, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278. If you send more than one recipe, please put each on a separate sheet of paper with your name, address and daytime phone number. Important: List the ingredients in order of use, and note the number of servings each recipe makes. Type or print contributions. Letters may be edited for clarity.

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